2016

 
 

Why isn't one of these trees growing on every street? It has superb four-season interest and can grow in most areas that are not too very hot, like the upper US, UK, and temperate Australia and New Zealand and it is low maintenance. This great connoisseur choice is the Japanese Stewartia, or Stewartia pseudocamellia. The white flowers of this tree closely resemble camellias—hence its species name, meaning like a camellia. Stewartias and camellias are, in fact, both in the tea family. Camellia sinensis, in fact, is the camellia whose leaves provide us with black, green, white, and oolong teas. Stewartia leaves, on the other hand, are noted for their fall foliage which can be a soft reddish-purple, red and orange and cider-gold. In addition to the amazing autumn foliage it has magnificently hued bark: red, orange and gray, for winter-long interest. But, of course, it's greatest draw is its immaculately white flowers which appear in July when few other woody plants are blooming. Stewartias need an acid, peaty soil and a little afternoon shade. Other than than it is a tree that will slowly climb to thirty, perhaps even 40, feet with a fine, upright, spreading form. It is free from pests and diseases and will remain a well-mannered, handsome specimen for many years.

As usual, this special tree will not be found in the popular landscape nurseries but more likely in a specialty, mail-order, plant nursery.

Japanese stewartia

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